(6-7-21) St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, located at 1538 Oregon Road, Rockford, OH welcomes retired Pastor Steve Howell back to the pulpit on Sunday, June 13, 2021 (as well as June 20th and 27th.). His message entitled “Our Heavenly Father” is based on the Gospel Lesson Luke 15:11-31 – for those of you who like to follow the scriptures.

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.

Please call Becky Shope 419-363-2227 for any questions regarding the worship services.

Visit the St. Paul’s UCC – Rockford Facebook Page for information as well.

Deacon Tom Sanford leads worship service at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, – Dana Smith to Speak on June 6, 2021

The Congregation of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ – Rockford welcomed the Deacon Tom Sanford (from New Life
Christian Center in Celina and director of Kingdom Harvest Ministries) to the pulpit on Sunday, May 30, 2021. His
message, titled, “Our Identity Found in Ruth,” included two Biblical references for the message from God that the life we
have can only be found in Him.. The first lesson was about following God (in Ruth 1:16) “Where you go I will go, and
where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I willbe buried.” Deacon Sanford retold the history of these scripture. Naomi and her husband Elimelech were Israelites.
They moved from Bethlehem to Moab in order to avoid a famine. Their two sons met and married the foreigners, Orphaand Ruth. Naomi’s husband died and then their two sons died as well. Naomi, in a voice of practicality, told her
daughters-in-law that she was returning to Bethlehem, where the famine was over. She advised the ladies to stay in
Moab with their families, who could take care of them. Orpha stayed in Moab, but Ruth could not be dissuaded. Ruth ha found God and wanted to be with his people. Ruth, the alien, felt God move in her life and she went his way with
Naomi. Later she married the Israelite, Boaz, and had a son. God blessed her when King David her great grandson
became the ruler of Israel and Judah.

Tom reminded the congregation that we have to set our hearts right like Ruth did and cling to the word of God. Naomi
felt God was against her, but in the end she was blessed because God makes masterpieces out of those sad stories.
Pursue Christ and his ways.

Dana Smith will speak on June 6, 2021. Come and hear his Bible message “Are you living in the moment?”